Is the Third Time the Charm?

By Robert Ecksel on December 30, 2015
Is the Third Time the Charm?
A rubber match is not a rubber match when one of the fighters won the first two fights.

A third fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley won’t resolve anything that hasn’t already been resolved…

When is a rubber match not a rubber match? A rubber match is not a rubber match when one of the fighters won the first two fights. The record books may say otherwise, but record books can be wrong, unlike the consumer, who is always right, and of course always gullible.

On April 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs), the Congressman from General Santos City, Philippines, returns to the ring to get it on with Timothy Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs), from Palm Springs, California, a third time.

After much talk about Terence Crawford being an ideal opponent; after Amir Khan, boxing’s forgotten man, was considered and quickly rejected; after the light shone on Adrien Broner for a few consequential moments; the Pacquiao Brain Trust (i.e., Top Rank’s Bob Arum) has decided that a third fight with Bradley is not only warranted, it may even be profitable.

“It’s a done deal,” said Arum, “and it’s going to be a third fight against Timothy Bradley. We took a lot of consideration knowing Bradley has improved a lot as a fighter since the last time they’ve met in 2014.”

Just how much Bradley has improved can be gauged by his TKO of Brandon Rios in his last fight. Rios, one of boxing’s iron men, had never been stopped before. But he had lost two of his last four fights going into the fight and somehow forgot to train for Tim Bradley,

There were doubts as to whether Pacquiao would even fight again following his ho-hum loss to Floyd Mayweather, especially when that dud was followed by a lame excuse for a dramatically unimaginative showing.

But after arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder and the healing ministrations of his Lord and Savior, Manny is apparently as good as new and has no intention of retiring after April’s fight.

“It’s not going to be Manny’s last fight,” Arum said, “because anything could still happen and you know Manny. That’s why we won’t sell it that way. I don’t think it is Manny’s last fight.”

Having said that “It’s not going to be Manny’s last fight,” Arum, who muddies the waters with the best of them, told Reuters, “I don’t want to say that (it’s his last fight). I’m not going to sell it as that because I don’t want everybody to say, ‘Hey, it’s his last fight, come and see it!’ and then it turns out that it’s not his last fight.”

In an attempt to make it appear that it was Pacquiao’s decision to fight Bradley a third time, Arum said, “We all gave him an input. From the cable companies, the satellite providers, MGM—it was about who is the strongest opponent from a marketable standpoint and we outlined everything for him and we were down to three choices and he thought Bradley was the one that made the most sense.”

No one except Arum, Pacquiao, the cable companies, the satellite providers and MGM seems especially pleased about Pacquiao-Bradley III. The been-there-done-that attitude is relevant to the two fighters, and a third fight won’t resolve anything that hasn’t already been resolved.

Bradley is a good fighter, maybe even an elite fighter, but a fight with Crawford, even a fight with Khan or Broner, would have had more meaning and generated more excitement.

Bradley is a better opponent for Pacquiao than Berto was for Mayweather from a boxing standpoint, but only by degrees.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Classic Boxing: Pacquiao vs. Bradley 2012 (HBO Boxing)



Pacquiao vs. Bradley II 2014 – Full Fight (HBO Boxing)



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  1. Galvar 03:07pm, 01/01/2016

    I hate Teddy Atlas, he’s says a lot of bad things about boxers who’s rejected his offer to train them.  I’d pay the PPV if they marketed it as Atlas versus Roach.  Maybe Arum can stage it so that Teddy kicks Roach in the chest during an “altercation”.

  2. TheSweetScience 10:37pm, 12/31/2015

    i was hoping for an un-presidented 5th fight vs marquez and a pacquiao exorcism of ghosts, over these options. he has been tryin to prove to himself , as well as everyone else, that he can take shots since the brutal ko. also been trying to show he is willing to charge into a corner without flinching. bradley joins names like rios n mayweather as guys mannys chin stays untested against. floyd wasnt chargin forward n rios couldnt catch wigless flies. i feared for manny vs crawford. bud is for real, and more menacing in ring than it seems. his icy stare btwn rounds vs jean was very telling. a fight wit “LIL BRO” made sense since floy cashed in and ran wit luk in his pocket,not YETgivin the remath. bradly seems the safest bet o them all, but honestly we need to hope for the old killer persona of mannys, cuz theres a certain cornerman thats comin just as fired up to win as bradly will be. it almost seems more un-wise of an opponent than brook would be. at least there was a belt to hope for. now manny gets a fighter ANDtrainer with chips on shoulders n lots to prove. lets not overlook that fact.

  3. Galvar 07:10pm, 12/31/2015

    I love Manny but it’s time to retire.  Bradley would be the best choice if he wanted to retire with a win.  Manny isn’t as fast anymore so Khan, Crawford, Boner (I know his name is Broner but he gets no respect) would be too much for him.

  4. nicolas 11:53am, 12/31/2015

    Would not be surprised with a bradley victory in this fight, or a controversial win for Pacquiao. Bradley to me has kept busier, and while I felt that Pacquaio won the first fight by 8-4, I had thought that Bradley might surprise people and win the second. However for me a more interesting fight would be if Pacquiao had decided to fight Brook, Thurman, or even Khan.

  5. tuxtucis 04:06am, 12/31/2015

    Yes, not a rubber match…Pacquaio won the first fight even better than the second. I disagree with Eric about Alì-Norton II, that i would score closely for Alì (while third match was one of the great robberies in boxing history).

  6. Darrell 01:36am, 12/31/2015

    Cue the pactards…...in 3, 2, 1…...

  7. Eric 08:40pm, 12/30/2015

    Irish…Isn’t good ole Mr. Jello Puddin’ accused of molesting a then 15 year old girl at the Playboy Mansion as well? Sheesh, did Cosby have America fooled or what? Mr. Clean comedy maybe, but he proved himself to be far more foul than anything that ever came out of the mouth of Red Foxx or Richard Pryor. Bill might want to seek some legal advice from Roman Polanski, or make a call to the other BC, good ole Slick Willie.

  8. Your Name 08:38pm, 12/30/2015

    This is nothing like berto was for mayweather. Pacquiao has a real chance to lose and In fact I thought the second fight between these two was even until Bradley decided that he had to try and knock pac out and abandon his game plan. Teddy will adds an interesting dynamic to the mix because you have to wonder if pac’s game has eroded just a bit more and perhaps Bradley’s game has sharpened and additionally there is the teddy atlas factor. I think it will be enough to get Bradley a W.!

  9. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:25pm, 12/30/2015

    Not to worry for Bill Cosby….things are a little tense now but as soon as that OJ Jury in Philly is impaneled he can breathe easy.

  10. Eric 08:13pm, 12/30/2015

    Clarence, agreed. I think that feather-fisted Bradley might even score his second straight inside the distance victory in this fight. Time for Manny to retire. Can’t imagine that much interest will be generated by this fight and I question why any sane person would waste their money to view it live or on PPV. Nothing against Bradley though as he always makes for pretty exciting fights but it takes two to tango.

  11. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:11pm, 12/30/2015

    The logic escapes me as it always does but somehow it was decided that this was the shortest, safest route to a mega bucks rematch with Mayweather.

  12. Clarence George 07:35pm, 12/30/2015

    I’m not at all convinced Pacquiao can beat Bradley at this stage of the game.  In any event, a pointless fight.

  13. Eric 07:21pm, 12/30/2015

    “A rubber match is not a rubber match when one of the fighters won the first two fights.”

    Makes me immediately think of the Ali-Norton trilogy. IMO, Norton won all 3 contests against Ali. The second Ali-Norton fight was the only one that a legitimate case for an Ali victory could be argued. Even in that fight, I gave the nod to Norton. I think most people would rather see a Broner vs Bradley fight than a Pac-Bradley III.

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